|Born||August 30, 1948|
Summit, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||December 4, 1969 21) (aged|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Cause of death||assassination by firearm, ruled justifiable homicide|
|Resting place||Bethel Cemetery, Haynesville, Louisiana, U.S.|
|Education||Proviso East High School|
|Known for||Deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter Black Panther Party|
|Political party||Black Panther Party|
|Partner(s)||Deborah Johnson |
(also known as Akua Njeri)
|Children||Fred Hampton Jr.|
Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an American activist and revolutionary,chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. Hampton and fellow Black Panther Mark Clark were murdered during a raid by a tactical unit of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in December 1969.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.
The Black Panther Party (BPP), originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was a political organization founded by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton in October 1966 in Oakland, California. The party was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982, with chapters in numerous major cities, and international chapters operating in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s, and in Algeria from 1969 until 1972.
In January 1970, a coroner's jury held an inquest and ruled the deaths of Hampton and Clark to be justifiable homicide.However, a civil lawsuit was later filed on behalf of the survivors and the relatives of Hampton and Clark. It was eventually resolved in 1982 for a settlement of $1.85 million with the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government each paying a third to a group of nine plaintiffs.
A coroner is a government official who is empowered to conduct or order an inquest into the manner or cause of death, and to investigate or confirm the identity of an unknown person who has been found dead within the coroner's jurisdiction.
A coroner's jury is a body convened to assist a coroner in an inquest, that is, in determining the identity of a deceased person and the cause of death. The laws on its role and function vary by jurisdiction.
An inquest is a judicial inquiry in common law jurisdictions, particularly one held to determine the cause of a person's death. Conducted by a judge, jury, or government official, an inquest may or may not require an autopsy carried out by a coroner or medical examiner. Generally, inquests are conducted only when deaths are sudden or unexplained. An inquest may be called at the behest of a coroner, judge, prosecutor, or, in some jurisdictions, upon a formal request from the public. A coroner's jury may be convened to assist in this type of proceeding. Inquest can also mean such a jury and the result of such an investigation. In general usage, inquest is also used to mean any investigation or inquiry.
Hampton was born on August 30, 1948, in present-day Summit, Illinois, and grew up in Maywood, both suburbs of Chicago. His parents had moved north from Louisiana, and both worked at the Argo Starch Company. As a youth, Hampton was gifted both in the classroom and on the athletic field, and strongly desired to play center field for the New York Yankees. He graduated from Proviso East High School with honors in 1966. Following his graduation, Hampton enrolled at Triton Junior College in nearby River Grove, Illinois, where he majored in pre-law. He planned to become more familiar with the legal system, to use it as a defense against police. He and fellow Black Panthers would follow police, watching out for police brutality, and used this knowledge of law as a defense.
Summit is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 11,054 at the 2010 census. The village is arguably best known as the setting to Ernest Hemingway's 1927 short story "The Killers".
Maywood is a village in Proviso Township, Cook County, Illinois, United States. It was founded on April 6, 1869, and organized October 22, 1881. The population was 24,090 at the 2010 United States Census.
Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U.S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The state's capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans.
He also became active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and assumed leadership of the Youth Council of the organization's West Suburban Branch. In his capacity as an NAACP youth organizer, Hampton began to demonstrate his natural leadership abilities; from a community of 27,000, he was able to muster a youth group 500-members strong. He worked to get more and better recreational facilities established in the neighborhoods, and to improve educational resources for Maywood's impoverished black community. Through his involvement with the NAACP, Hampton hoped to achieve social change through community organizing and nonviolent activism.
Social change involves alteration of the social order of a society. It may include changes in social institutions, social behaviours or social relations.
About the same time that Hampton was successfully organizing young African-Americans for the NAACP, the Black Panther Party (BPP) started rising to national prominence. Hampton was quickly attracted to the Black Panthers' approach, which was based on a ten-point program that integrated black self-determination on the basis of Maoism. Hampton joined the Party and relocated to downtown Chicago, and in November 1968 he joined the Party's nascent Illinois chapter—founded by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizer Bob Brown in late 1967.
The Ten-Point Program, or The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Ten-Point Platform and Program, is a set of guidelines to the Black Panther Party and states their ideals and ways of operation, a "combination of a Bill of Rights and a Declaration of Independence."
The right of a people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law, binding, as such, on the United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the Charter's norms. It states that people, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference.
Maoism is the variety of Chinese Communism that Mao Zedong developed for realising a socialist revolution in the agricultural, pre-industrial society of the People's Republic of China. From the 1950s until the Chinese economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, Maoism was the political and military ideology of the Communist Party of China and of Maoist revolutionary movements throughout the world. The philosophic difference between Maoism and Marxism–Leninism is that the peasantry are the revolutionary vanguard in pre-industrial societies.
Over the next year, Hampton and his associates made a number of significant achievements in Chicago. Perhaps his most important accomplishment was his brokering of a nonaggression pact between Chicago's most powerful street gangs. Emphasizing that racial and ethnic conflict between gangs would only keep its members entrenched in poverty, Hampton strove to forge a class-conscious, multi-racial alliance between the BPP, the Young Patriots Organization, and the Young Lords under the leadership of Jose Cha Cha Jimenez.
Poverty is not having enough material possessions or income for a person's needs. Poverty is a multifaceted concept, which may include social, economic, and political elements.
The Young Patriots Organization was an American left-wing organization of the 1960s and 1970s. Growing out of a Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) project called Jobs Or Income Now (JOIN), its first leaders included Doug "Youngblood" Blakey, the son of Peggy Terry; Jack "Junebug" Boykin; Bobby Joe Mcginnis; William "Preacherman" Fesperman; and Hy Thurman. Originating in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, the organization was designed to support young, white migrants from the Appalachia region. However membership was open to all races. With Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party, José "Cha-Cha" Jiménez of the Young Lords Organization, the Young Patriots Organization began to form the Rainbow Coalition. The group's early interactions with the Black Panthers are shown in the 1969 documentary American Revolution 2 The entire Central Committee of the Young Lords were experiencing heavy police repression and were underground. It is why they are shown in only a minor role. and were not filmed in the movie.
The Young Lords is a civil and human rights organization transformed by the leadership of Jose Cha Cha Jimenez from a Chicago turf gang on September 23, 1968, 100 years after the Grito de Lares. The group's mission is to fight for neighborhood empowerment and self-determination of Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and colonized people. Tactics used by the Young Lords include mass education, community programs, and direct confrontation. The Young Lords were victims of the U.S. Government's COINTELPRO program.
Fred Hampton met the Young Lords in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, the day after the Young Lords were in the news after they had occupied a police community workshop meeting, held on the second floor hall of the Chicago 18th District Police Station. He was arrested twice with Jose Cha Cha Jimenez at the Wicker Park Welfare Office and both were charged with Mob Action at a peaceful picket of the office. Later, the Rainbow Coalition was joined nationwide by the Students for a Democratic Society ("SDS"), the Brown Berets, A.I.M. and the Red Guard Party.In May 1969, Hampton called a press conference to announce that this "rainbow coalition" had formed. It was a phrase coined by Hampton and made popular over the years by Reverend Jesse Jackson, who eventually appropriated the name in forming his own, unrelated, coalition, Rainbow/PUSH.
Hampton's organizing skills, substantial oratorical gifts, and personal charisma allowed him to rise quickly in the Black Panthers. Once he became leader of the Chicago chapter, he organized weekly rallies, worked closely with the BPP's local People's Clinic, taught political education classes every morning at 6am, and launched a project for community supervision of the police. Hampton was also instrumental in the BPP's Free Breakfast Program. When Brown left the Party with Stokely Carmichael in the FBI-fomented SNCC/Panther split, Hampton assumed chairmanship of the Illinois state BPP, automatically making him a national BPP deputy chairman. As the Panther leadership across the country began to be decimated by the impact of the FBI's COINTELPRO, Hampton's prominence in the national hierarchy increased rapidly and dramatically. Eventually, Hampton was in line to be appointed to the Party's Central Committee's Chief of Staff. He would have achieved this position had he not been killed by Chicago Police on the morning of December 4, 1969.
While Hampton impressed many of the people with whom he came into contact as an effective leader and talented communicator, those very qualities marked him as a major threat in the eyes of the FBI. Hence, the bureau began keeping close tabs on his activities. Subsequent investigations have shown that FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover was determined to prevent the formation of a cohesive Black movement in the United States. Hoover saw the Panthers, Young Patriots, Young Lords, and similar radical coalitions forged by Hampton in Chicago as a frightening steppingstone toward the creation of such a revolutionary body that could, in its strength, cause a radical change in the U.S. government.
The FBI opened a file on Hampton in 1967. Hampton's mother's phone was tapped in February 1968, and Hampton was placed on the Bureau's "Agitator Index" as a "key militant leader" by May.In late 1968, the Racial Matters squad of the FBI's Chicago field office recruited an individual named William O'Neal, who had recently been arrested twice for interstate car theft and impersonating a federal officer. In exchange for having his felony charges dropped and a monthly stipend, O'Neal agreed to infiltrate the BPP as a counterintelligence operative.
O'Neal joined the Party and quickly rose in the organization, becoming Director of Chapter security and Hampton's bodyguard. In 1969, the FBI special agent in San Francisco wrote Hoover that the agent's investigation of the BPP revealed that in his city, at least, the Panthers were primarily feeding breakfast to children. Hoover fired back a memo implying that the career prospects of the agent were directly related to his supplying evidence to support Hoover's view that the BPP was "a violence-prone organization seeking to overthrow the Government by revolutionary means".
By means of anonymous letters, the FBI sowed distrust and eventually instigated a split between the Panthers and the Rangers, with O'Neal himself instigating an armed clash between the two on April 2, 1969. The Panthers became effectively isolated from their power base in the ghetto, so the FBI went to work to undermine its ties with other radical organizations. O'Neal was instructed to "create a rift" between the Party and SDS, whose Chicago headquarters was only blocks from that of the Panthers. The Bureau released a batch of racist cartoons in the Panthers' name,aimed at alienating white activists, and launched a disinformation program to forestall the realization of the Rainbow Coalition but nevertheless it was formed with an alliance of the Young Patriots and Young Lords. In repeated directives, Hoover demanded that the COINTELPRO personnel investigate the Rainbow Coalition and "destroy what the [BPP] stands for" and "eradicate its 'serve the people' programs".
Documents secured by Senate investigators in the early 1970s revealed that the FBI actively encouraged violence between the Panthers and other radical groups, which provoked multiple murders in cities throughout the country.On July 16, there was an armed confrontation between party members and the Chicago Police Department, which left one BPP member mortally wounded and six others arrested on serious charges. In early October, Hampton and his girlfriend, Deborah Johnson (now known as Akua Njeri), pregnant with their first child (Fred Hampton Jr.), rented a four-and-a-half room apartment on 2337 West Monroe Street to be closer to BPP headquarters. O'Neal reported to his superiors that much of the Panthers' "provocative" stockpile of arms was being stored there and drew them a map of the layout of the apartment. In early November, Hampton traveled to California on a speaking engagement to the UCLA Law Students Association. While there, he met with the remaining BPP national hierarchy, who appointed him to the Party's Central Committee. Shortly thereafter, he was to assume the position of Chief of Staff and major spokesman.
Fred Hampton was quickly moving up the ranks in the Black Panther Party, and his talent as a political organizer was described as remarkable.In 1968, he was on the verge of creating a merger between the BPP and a southside street gang with thousands of members, which would have doubled the size of the national BPP. Moreover, it meant an alliance extending the Black Panther Party reach and influence united with white, Italian and Latino organizers, a step which Hoover viewed as an untenable ultimate threat and ordered an intensified FBI crackdown to the level of "any means necessary" to destroy the BPP.
In November 1969, Hampton traveled to California and met with the National BPP leadership at UCLA. It was there that they offered him a position on the Central Committee as the chief of staff and asked him to serve as the national spokesman for the BPP. While Hampton was out of town, two Chicago police officers, John J. Gilhooly and Frank G. Rappaport, were killed in a gun battle with Panthers on the night of November 13. A total of nine police officers were shot; a 19-year-old Panther named Spurgeon Winter Jr. was killed by police and another Panther, Lawrence S. Bell, was charged with murder. In an unsigned editorial headlined "No Quarter for Wild Beasts", the Chicago Tribune urged that Chicago police officers approaching suspected Panthers "should be ordered to be ready to shoot."
The FBI, determined to prevent any enhancement of the BPP leadership's effectiveness, decided to set up an arms raid on Hampton's Chicago apartment. FBI informant William O'Neal provided them with detailed information about Hampton's apartment, including the layout of furniture and the bed in which Hampton and his girlfriend slept. An augmented, 14-man team of the SAO—Special Prosecutions Unit—was organized for a pre-dawn raid armed with a warrant for illegal weapons.
On the evening of December 3, Hampton taught a political education course at a local church, which was attended by most members. Afterwards, as was typical, several Panthers went to the Monroe Street apartment to spend the night, including Hampton and Deborah Johnson, Blair Anderson, Ronald "Doc" Satchell, Harold Bell, Verlina Brewer, Louis Truelock, Brenda Harris, and Mark Clark. Upon arrival, they were met by O'Neal, who had prepared a late dinner, which the group ate around midnight. O'Neal had slipped the barbiturate sleep agent, secobarbitol, into a drink that Hampton consumed during the dinner, in order to sedate Hampton so he would not awaken during the subsequent raid. O'Neal left at this point, and, at about 1:30 a.m., December 4, Hampton fell asleep mid-sentence talking to his mother on the telephone. Although Hampton was not known to take drugs, Cook County chemist Eleanor Berman would report that she ran two separate tests which each showed evidence of barbiturates in Hampton's blood. An FBI chemist would later fail to find similar traces, but Berman stood by her findings.
The raid was organized by the office of Cook County State's Attorney Edward Hanrahan, using officers attached to his office. a.m., the heavily armed police team arrived at the site, divided into two teams, eight for the front of the building and six for the rear. At 4:45 a.m., they stormed into the apartment. Mark Clark, sitting in the front room of the apartment with a shotgun in his lap, was on security duty. He was shot in the chest and died instantly.Hanrahan had recently been the subject of a large amount of public criticism by Hampton, who had made speeches about how Hanrahan's talk about a "war on gangs" was really rhetoric used to enable him to carry out a "war on black youth". At 4:00
A single round was fired from his gun, caused by a reflexive death-convulsion after the raiding team shot him; this was the only shot the Panthers fired.Automatic gunfire then converged at the head of the south bedroom where Hampton slept, unable to awaken as a result of the barbiturates the FBI infiltrator had slipped into his drink. He was lying on a mattress in the bedroom with his fiancée, who was nine months pregnant with their child. Two officers found him wounded in the shoulder, and fellow Black Panther Harold Bell reported that he heard the following exchange:
Two shots were heard, which were later found to have been fired point blank at Hampton's head. According to Johnson, one officer then said:
Hampton's body was dragged into the doorway of the bedroom and left in a pool of blood. The officers then directed their gunfire towards the remaining Panthers, who had been sleeping in the north bedroom (Satchel, Anderson, and Brewer).Verlina Brewer, Ronald "Doc" Satchel, Blair Anderson, and Brenda Harris were seriously wounded, then beaten and dragged into the street, where they were arrested on charges of aggravated assault and the attempted murder of the officers. They were each held on US$100,000 bail.
Hampton's fiancée, Deborah Johnson, was sleeping next to him when the police raid began. She was forcibly removed from the room by the police officers while Hampton lay unconscious in bed. In the early 1990s, Johnson was interviewed about the raid by Jose Cha Cha Jimenez, former president and co-founder of the Young Lords Organization, which had developed close ties to Fred Hampton and the Chicago Black Panther Party during the late 1960s. She recollected:
The seven Panthers who survived the raid were indicted by a grand jury on charges of attempted murder, armed violence, and various other weapons charges. These charges were subsequently dropped. During the trial, the Chicago Police Department claimed that the Panthers were the first to fire shots; however, a later investigation found that the Chicago police fired between ninety and ninety-nine shots while the Panthers had only shot once.
After the raid, the apartment was left unguarded, which allowed the Panthers to send some members to investigate. They were accompanied by a videographer and the footage was later released in the 1971 documentary The Murder of Fred Hampton. After a break-in at an FBI office in Pennsylvania, the existence of COINTELPRO, an illegal counter-intelligence program, was brought to light. The awareness of this program caused many to suspect that the police raid and the shooting of Fred Hampton were parts of the program's initiative. One of the documents that were released after the break-in was a floor plan of Hampton's apartment. Another document outlined a deal the FBI brokered with the deputy attorney general to conceal the FBI's role in the assassination of Hampton and the existence of COINTELPRO.
At a press conference the next day, the police announced the arrest team had been attacked by the "violent" and "extremely vicious" Panthers and had defended themselves accordingly. In a second press conference on December 8, the assault team was praised for their "remarkable restraint", "bravery", and "professional discipline" for not killing all the Panthers present. Photographic evidence was presented of "bullet holes" allegedly made by shots fired by the Panthers, but this was soon challenged by reporters (although the Chicago Tribune initially published these photos in support of the police action). An internal investigation was undertaken, and the assault team was exonerated of any wrongdoing.[ citation needed ]
Hampton's funeral was attended by 5,000 people, and he was eulogized by black leaders, such as Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King's successor as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In his eulogy, Jackson noted that "when Fred was shot in Chicago, black people in particular, and decent people in general, bled everywhere."On December 6, members of the Weather Underground destroyed numerous police vehicles in a retaliatory bombing spree at 3600 N. Halsted Street, Chicago.
The police described their raid as a "shootout". The Black Panthers countered Hanrahan's claim of a "shoot out" by describing it as a "shoot-in", not a shootout, because all but one of the shots were fired by police.A firestorm erupted on December 11 and 12 between the two competing daily newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. At that time, the Chicago Tribune was considered the politically conservative newspaper, and the Chicago Sun-Times was considered the politically liberal newspaper. On December 11, the Chicago Tribune published a page 1 article titled, "Exclusive – Hanrahan, Police Tell Panther Story." The article included photographs supplied by Hanrahan's office that depicted bullet holes in a thin white curtain and door jamb as evidence that the Panthers fired multiple bullets at the police.
The firestorm was triggered in part by Jack Challem, editor of the Wright College News, the student newspaper at Wright Junior College in Chicago. Challem visited the Hampton apartment on Saturday, December 6, and took numerous photographs. The house was not sealed as a crime scene, and a member of the Black Panthers was allowing visitors to tour the apartment. Challem's photographs did not show any bullet holes. On the morning of December 12, after the Chicago Tribune article was published, Challem contacted a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times, showed him the photographs, and encouraged him to visit the apartment. That evening, the Chicago Sun-Times published a page 1 article with the headline: "Those 'bullet holes' aren't." According to the article, the alleged bullet holes (supposedly the result of the Panthers shooting in the direction of the police) were nail heads.
Challem's story and photographs, published in the Wright College News, tell a different story and pose unanswered questions. First, there were no nail heads (or bullet holes) in his photographs. The implication, though speculative, is that someone tampered with the crime scene between December 6 and December 12 to make it appear as though the "nail heads" were innocently mistaken as "bullet holes." Second, it is difficult, if not impossible, to photograph a bullet hole in a thin white curtain without retouching the photograph, another sign that evidence had been tampered with.Four weeks after witnessing Hampton's death at the hands of the police, Deborah Johnson gave birth to Fred Hampton Jr.
Civil rights activists Roy Wilkins and Ramsey Clark (styled as "The Commission of Inquiry into the Black Panthers and the Police") subsequently alleged that the Chicago police had killed Fred Hampton without justification or provocation and had violated the Panthers' constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure.[ citation needed ] "The Commission" further alleged that the Chicago Police Department had imposed a summary punishment on the Panthers. The federal grand jury did not return any indictment against anyone involved with the planning or execution of the raid. The officers involved in the raid were cleared by a grand jury of any crimes. The FBI informant, William O'Neal, committed suicide in 1990 after admitting his involvement in setting up the raid.
Shortly afterwards, Cook County coroner Andrew Toman began forming a special six member coroner's jury to hold an inquest into the deaths of Hampton and Clark.On December 23, Toman announced four additions to the jury which included two African-American men: physician Theodore K. Lawless and attorney Julian B. Wilkins, the son of J. Ernest Wilkins, Sr. He stated the four were selected from a group of candidates submitted to his office by groups and individuals representing both Chicago's black and white communities. Civil rights leaders and spokesmen for the black community were reported to have been disappointed with the selection.
An official with the Chicago Urban League said: "I would have had more confidence in the jury if one of them had been a black man who has a rapport with the young and the grass roots in the community."Gus Savage said that such a man to whom the community could relate need not be black. The jury eventually included a third black man who was a member of the first coroner's jury sworn in on December 4.
The blue-ribbon panel convened for the inquest on January 6, 1970 and on January 21 ruled the deaths of Hampton and Clark to be justifiable homicide.The jury qualified their verdict on the death of Hampton as "based solely and exclusively on the evidence presented to this inquisition"; police and expert witness provided the only testimony during the inquest. Jury foreman James T. Hicks stated that they could not consider the charges of the Black Panthers in the apartment who stated that the police entered the apartment shooting; those who survived the raid were reported to have refused to testify during the inquest because they faced criminal charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault during the raid. Attorneys for the Hampton and Clark families also did not introduce any witnesses during the proceedings, but described the inquest as "a well-rehearsed theatrical performance designed to vindicate the police officers". State's Attorney Edward Hanrahan said the verdict was recognition "of the truthfulness of our police officers' account of the events".
Released on May 15, 1970, the reports of a federal grand jury criticized the actions of the police, the surviving Black Panthers, and the Chicago news media.The grand jury stated that the police department's raid was "ill conceived" and that there were many errors committed during the post-raid investigation and reconstruction of the events, that the refusal of the surviving Black Panthers to cooperate hampered the investigation, and that the press "improperly and grossly exaggerated stories".
In 1970, a $47.7 million lawsuit was filed on behalf of the survivors and the relatives of Hampton and Clark stating that the civil rights of the Black Panther members were violated.Twenty-eight defendants were named, including Hanrahan as well as the City of Chicago, Cook County, and federal governments. The following trial lasted 18 months and was reported to have been the longest federal trial up to that time. After its conclusion in 1977, Judge Joseph Sam Perry of United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed the suit against 21 of the defendants prior to jury deliberations. Perry dismissed the suit against the remaining defendants after jurors deadlocked.
In 1979, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago stated that the government had withheld relevant documents thereby obstructing the judicial process.Reinstating the case against 24 of the defendants, the Court of Appeals ordered a new trial. The Supreme Court of the United States heard an appeal but voted 5-3 in 1980 to return the case to the District Court for a new trial.
In 1982, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government agreed to a settlement in which each would pay $616,333 to a group of nine plaintiffs, including the mothers of Hampton and Clark.The $1.85 million settlement was believed to be the largest ever in a civil rights case. G. Flint Taylor, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said: "The settlement is an admission of the conspiracy that existed between the F.B.I. and Hanrahan's men to murder Fred Hampton." An Assistant United States Attorney, Robert Gruenberg, stated that the settlement was intended to avoid another costly trial and was not an admission of guilt or responsibility.
The allegation that Hampton was assassinated has been debated since the day he and Clark were killed in the police raid.Ten days afterward, Bobby Rush, then the deputy minister of defense for the Illinois Black Panther party, called the raiding party an "execution squad". Despite the settlements, controversy remained as to whether the men died in an exchange of gunfire with police or were intentionally slain.
Michael Newton is among those authors who have stated that Hampton was assassinated.In his 2016 book Unsolved Civil Rights Murder Cases, 1934-1970, Newton asserts that Hampton "was murdered in his sleep by Chicago police with FBI collusion." This view is affirmed in the UNC Press publication From the Bullet to the Ballot: The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago.
According to a 1969 Chicago Tribune report, "The raid ended the promising political career of Cook County State's Atty. Edward V. Hanrahan, who was indicted but cleared with 13 other law-enforcement agents on charges of obstructing justice. Bernard Carey, a Republican, defeated him in the next election, in part because of the support of outraged black voters." [ citation needed ] Jeffrey Haas, who, together with his law partners G. Flint Taylor and Dennis Cunningham and attorney James D. Montgomery, were the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the federal suit Hampton v. Hanrahan, wrote in his book about Hampton's death that Chicago was worse off without Hampton:The families of Hampton and Clark filed a US$47.7 million civil suit against the city, state, and federal governments. The case went to trial before Federal Judge J. Sam Perry. After more than 18 months of testimony and at the close of the Plaintiff's case, Judge Perry dismissed the case. The Plaintiffs appealed and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, ordering the case to be retried. More than a decade after the case had been filed, the suit was finally settled for $1.85 Million. The two families each shared in the settlement.
Of course, there's also the legacy that, without a young leader, I think the West Side of Chicago degenerated a lot into drugs. And without leaders like Fred Hampton, I think the gangs and the drugs became much more prevalent on the West Side. He was an alternative to that. He talked about serving the community, talked about breakfast programs, educating the people, community control of police. So I think that that's unfortunately another legacy of Fred's murder.
In 1990, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed a resolution, introduced by then-Alderman Madeline Haithcock, commemorating December 4, 2004, as "Fred Hampton Day in Chicago". The resolution read in part: "Fred Hampton, who was only 21 years old, made his mark in Chicago history not so much by his death as by the heroic efforts of his life and by his goals of empowering the most oppressed sector of Chicago's Black community, bringing people into political life through participation in their own freedom fighting organization."
A public pool was named in his honor in his home town of Maywood, Illinois.In March 2006, supporters of Hampton's charity work proposed the naming of a Chicago street in honor of the former Black Panther leader. Chicago's chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police opposed this effort. On Saturday September 7, 2007, a bust of Hampton was erected outside the Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center.
In response to the killings of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in December 1969, on May 21, 1970, the Weather Underground issued a "Declaration of War" against the United States government, using for the first time its new name, the "Weather Underground Organization" (WUO); they also adopted fake identities, and decided to pursue covert activities only. These initially included preparations for a bombing of a U.S. military non-commissioned officers' dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in what Brian Flanagan said had been intended to be "the most horrific hit the United States government had ever suffered on its territory".
We've known that our job is to lead white kids into armed revolution. We never intended to spend the next five to twenty-five years of our lives in jail. Ever since SDS became revolutionary, we've been trying to show how it is possible to overcome frustration and impotence that comes from trying to reform this system. Kids know the lines are drawn: revolution is touching all of our lives. Tens of thousands have learned that protest and marches don't do it. Revolutionary violence is the only way.
A 27-minute documentary entitled Death of a Black Panther: The Fred Hampton Storywas used as evidence in the civil suit. Although Hampton had criticized the predominantly white Weather Underground (also known as the Weathermen) two months earlier for being "adventuristic, masochistic and Custeristic", Bernardine Dohrn of the Weathermen, which had a close relationship with the Black Panthers in Chicago at the time of Hampton's death, said in the documentary The Weather Underground (2002) that the killing of Fred Hampton caused them to "be more grave, more serious, more determined to raise the stakes, and not just be the white people who wrung their hands when black people were being murdered."
Much of the first half of "A Nation of Law?", Eyes on the Prize episode 12, chronicles the leadership and extrajudicial killing of Fred Hampton. The events of Hampton's rise to prominence, J. Edgar Hoover's targeting of him, and Hampton's subsequent death are also recounted with footage in the 2015 documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution .
Jeffrey Haas wrote an account of Hampton's death, entitled The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther (2009).Stephen King refers to Hampton in the novel 11/22/63 (2012), where a character discusses the ripple effect of traveling back in time to prevent President John F. Kennedy's assassination, which the character postulates would give rise to a series of events that could prevent Fred Hampton's assassination as well.
Artists that have mentioned Hampton in their music include:
COINTELPRO (1956–1971) was a series of covert, and at times illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations. FBI records show that COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed subversive, including feminist organizations,the Communist Party USA, anti–Vietnam War organizers, activists of the civil rights movement or Black Power movement, environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), independence movements, and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left. The program also targeted the Ku Klux Klan in 1964.
Leroy Eldridge Cleaver was an American writer, and political activist who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party.
The Black Liberation Army (BLA) was an underground Black Power organization that operated in the United States from 1970 to 1981. Composed entirely of Black Panthers (BPP) who served as members of both groups, the organization's program was one of war against the United States Government, and its stated goal was to "take up arms for the liberation and self-determination of black people in the United States." The BLA carried out a series of bombings, killings of police officers and drug dealers, robberies, and prison breaks.
Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, also known as Geronimo Ji-Jaga and Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt, was a decorated military veteran and a high-ranking member of the Black Panther Party in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Born in Louisiana, he served two tours in Vietnam, receiving several decorations. He moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at UCLA under the GI Bill and joined the Black Panther Party.
Fred Hampton Jr. is an African-American political activist and the son of Fred Hampton Sr. His father was a Black Panther who was killed by the Chicago police. Hampton's 19-year-old mother, Deborah Johnson, was nine months pregnant with him when Hampton Sr. was killed in her presence during the police raid of the early morning hours of December 4, 1969. Hampton Sr. was 21 at the time of his death.
Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter was an American activist. Carter is credited as a founding member of the Southern California chapter of the Black Panther Party. Carter was shot and killed by a rival group, and is celebrated by his supporters as a martyr in the Black Power movement in the United States. Carter is portrayed by Gaius Charles in the 2015 TV series Aquarius.
Gabriel's Fire is an American television series that ran on ABC in the United States during the 1990–91 television season. A revamped version of the series, entitled Pros and Cons, aired briefly the following season.
David Rice and Edward Poindexter were charged and convicted of the murder of Omaha Police Officer Larry Minard. Minard died when a suitcase bomb containing dynamite exploded in a North Omaha home on August 17, 1970. Officer John Tess was also injured in the explosion. Rice died on March 11, 2016. He was 68 years old and had been in poor health.
Mark Clark was an American activist and member of the Black Panther Party. He was killed with Fred Hampton during a Chicago police predawn raid on December 4, 1969.
John Jerome Huggins, Jr. was an American activist. Huggins was the leader in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party who was killed by black nationalist US Organization members on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus in January 1969.
Alex Rackley was a member of the New York chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. In May 1969, Rackley, 19, was suspected by other Panthers of being a police informant. He was brought to Panther headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut, held captive and tortured there for several days, "tried" in kangaroo court, condemned to death, taken to the wetlands of Middlefield, Connecticut, and murdered there.
In 1970 there was a series of criminal prosecutions in New Haven, Connecticut against various members of the Black Panther Party. The charges ranged from criminal conspiracy to felony murder. All indictments stemmed from the murder of 19-year-old Alex Rackley in the early hours of May 21, 1969. The trials became a rallying-point for the American Left, and marked a decline in public support, even among the black community, for the Black Panther Party.
The Murder of Fred Hampton is a 1971 documentary film which began with the intention of portraying Fred Hampton and the Illinois Black Panther Party. During the film's production, Hampton was assassinated by the Chicago Police Department.
Edward Vincent Hanrahan was a Cook County, Illinois State's Attorney who had been groomed as a prospective successor to Mayor of Chicago Richard J. Daley. His career was effectively ended after Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton and member Mark Clark were murdered in a raid by police attached to his office in 1969.
People's Law Office (PLO) is a law office in Chicago, Illinois, which focuses on public interest law, representing clients believed to have been the subject of attacks by governmental officials and agencies. It was founded in 1969. Clients have included political activists, people who have been wrongfully arrested and imprisoned, or subjected to excessive force; and criminal defendants.
Mark Everett Comfort was a community activist who worked in early Oakland grassroots civil rights movements in the 1960s, before moving to Lowndes County, Alabama.
G. Flint Taylor is an American human rights and civil rights attorney based in Chicago, Illinois, who has litigated many high-profile police brutality, government misconduct and death penalty cases. Taylor has pursued public interest law to take on allegations of corrupt police tactics and wrongful convictions in the city of Chicago and elsewhere. Taylor was part of a team of negotiators in the 2015 landmark decision by the City of Chicago to award reparations to the survivors of police torture, becoming the first municipal government to do so.
The Portland Black Panthers: Empowering Albina and Remaking a City is a history book written by Lucas N. N. Burke, a historian at the University of Oregon, and Judson L. Jeffries, a professor of African and African American Studies at the Ohio State University. It was published by the University of Washington Press in 2016. The book tells the story of the formation of the local branch of the Portland Black Panther Party within the constraints of living in a majority white city with a tumultuous past regarding race relations. Furthermore, it provides a historical context for these race relations, by highlighting the changes in the black community throughout the 20th century.
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